Integration between dividing lines : the spatial and social integration of African immigrants in post-apartheid Cape Town
Author(s)Abrahamse, Clarie Janet
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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Over the last fifteen years since the demise of apartheid South Africa, under a new democratic dispensation, has become host to several million immigrants from the rest of the continent. This has been paralleled by a rise in violent acts of xenophobia against an increasingly diverse immigrant population by those who consider themselves "legitimate citizens" of the new post-apartheid nation. As with immigration worldwide, this is a particularly urban phenomenon. Yet in contrast to the urban theories on immigration which have developed in parallel with the emergence of the industrial city, specifically in the Chicago School writings of the 1920s, the South African city has a very particular cultural, historical and physical geography, deeply embedded with notions of race and belonging, and heavily influencing the perception of its new immigrants. The question thus arises as to whether the international urban theories have any explanatory purchase in the South African case. Through analysing Cape Town according to these theories and examining the historical urban-planning responses to immigration and the "other" that have been employed since the colonial era, a few sites are identified in contemporary Cape Town in which a certain level of integration is occurring between immigrant communities and their host societies. It is argued that these sites show strong urban commonalities in terms of the formal and social environments they are able to provide. One of these urban neighbourhoods, Mowbray, is examined in detail against a series of hypotheses drawn from the international theories and the metropolitan and historical understanding of the city.(cont.) These relate to the specific aspects of urban space, grain of fabric and land markets present, the specific ideologies that have guided the making of the neighbourhood, and the effects of civic institutions and organisations in aiding the building of place-based social networks. The analysis of how each of these aspects play out across the spatial and social landscape of the neighbourhood then informs the building of an urban theory and response to the spatial promoters of environments of integration in the city, recognising that while immigration is a very complex phenomenon, its urban location represents an opportunity for urbanism to be brought to bear on making the experience of immigrants less hostile.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2009.Includes bibliographical references (p. 154-164).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology